After years of traveling and holding jobs in different states Lance Lohman, a native of Babbitt, Minnesota, joined L&M Radiator Inc.’s tubing department in 1984 seeking a career that would challenge him every day.
“I’ve found that I am passionate about jobs where I can challenge myself to reach the next level,” Lohman said. “I remained with L&M’s tubing department for about 15 years and the work never got boring. Every day I had a new mission — sometimes it was how many tubes could I make, how could my team and I turn around this job before the deadline, or how could we execute perfectly?”
Lohman added that teamwork and company camaraderie made him eager to take on bigger challenges and new projects.
“I came to L&M with no prior experience with tubing,” said Lohman, who worked in a local bakery prior to joining L&M Radiator. “I worked slow on my first few days, just learning the process and getting the job done right and everyone was positive and encouraged me to stick with the work. I had many mentors.”
Lohman’s eagerness to learn and willingness to take on a challenge meant he received opportunities to work on some of L&M’s largest projects.
“In 1997 we had two huge orders for 15,000-tube cores,” Lohman said. “For perspective, a general load of tube cores in a normal day is anywhere between 50 and 1,700 tubes.”
He recalled walking into work and joining a shop meeting where Laura Ekholm, L&M Radiator’s executive vice president, told everyone to “get focused, work hard and get a touchdown.”
“The shop floor was buzzing that day and my production partner at the time, Nick Mackie, and I went nuts and worked on a team that produced the most tubes in L&M plant history — more than 1,800 in one long day,” Lohman said.
Like Lohman, Mackie still works for L&M and holds a shipping clerk position with the company.
“At L&M Radiator, the executives and team members hold you accountable” Lohman said. “They believe in you and expect you to execute at a high level because your job is necessary for the success of the product and the company.”
L&M Prioritizes Family
“Whenever someone asks me why they should work at L&M, I tell them it’s the best place to work because they offer flexible hours and they prioritize your family,” Lohman said. “Those school events, like choir concerts or big events in your kid’s life, this company wants you to be there for those and they will let you make up the work, so you don’t miss out on anything.”
Lohman added that the entire L&M company supports its employees; all levels and departments the company come together to support employees in their time of need.
“The support you receive starts from the leadership at the top; they care,” Lohman said. “About two years ago, my daughter passed away from cancer at 32-years-old. I was told to take as much time as I needed. My L&M family was there for me, and they had my back.”
Lohman spent quality time with his daughter and his wife of 35 years, Julie, by making crafts such as jewelry, soaps and lotions, which they sold at craft shows.
“They created Iron Ranger Soap and now Julie ships her products around the United States on Etsy, Amazon and Facebook,” Lohman said. “We still attend craft shows on the weekends and I usually run back and forth unpacking things and chatting with customers.”
Lohman embodies L&M Values in his Tube Supervisor Role
“I’ve been with L&M for more than 28 years and it’s the workplace benefits, challenges and camaraderie that keep me here,” Lohman said. “It’s amazing to think that the work I do goes into products that are shipped internationally and the tubes I make are on some of the largest mining trucks in the world.”
Lohman oversees a team of ten tubing specialists. They manufacture everything from copper tubes to RTTS test tubes, round aluminum tubes and M tubes, which are the backbone of all L&M heating and cooling systems and products.
“My time with L&M has shaped me into a better leader and mentor to others,” Lohman said. “As a supervisor, I help get people trained and I encourage them to ask for help when they need it.”
Lohman’s longtime experience with L&M makes him an expert on many tubing products and helps him connect with employees at all levels.
“I want to make people comfortable and help great workers become the best tubers they can be,” Lohman said. “I enjoy telling people when their work is excellent and encouraging people to support each other when they succeed or if they are struggling.”
Just for Fun
In his free time, Lohman enjoys playing The Legend of Zelda games. He has beat Zelda games on many consoles including the Nintendo Switch and GameCube.
“I even have tattoos to show for it — Link from A Link to the Past and the Majora’s mask,” Lohman said.
Lohman also enjoys spending time with his son Eric. They frequently go Walleye fishing, play hockey and ride ride four-wheelers on trails in Isabella, Minnesota.
“I have no complaints,” said Lohman. “I have a really balanced life working at L&M Radiator.”
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